douglas fairbanks

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Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford promoting the sale of Liberty Bonds during World War 1 at the United States Sub Treasury building (i.e. Federal Hall) in New York City on April 8, 1918.

The three stars appeared together in D.C., New York, and then split up to tour the country on behalf of the Bond Drive.

Why you should all love Mary Pickford

Let me tell you about my girl Mary. 

  • She was her family’s breadwinner from the age of 5, giving up her childhood to support her family after her alcoholic father left them. She wanted a role with a certain filmmaker so she waited outside of his office every day until he agreed to audition her. She was only 15. 
  • She was basically one of the first movie stars ever. In the era of silent movies the director was usually the draw but suddenly people kept asking for the girl with the ringlets and she became a sensation. She was one of the first actors to get name billing. 
  • She made double what most actors of her time made. To this day women make less than men in Hollywood but Mary was paid way more than most. Not only that but she demanded to be paid more because she was a huge box office draw and knew she was worth it. 
  • She formed her own major studio- the revolutionary United Artists- with DW Griffiths, Charlie Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks. She was the first woman to start a major studio. It gave her creative control over her career. She is arguably one of the most powerful women to ever be in the film industry. 
  • She started her first production company at the age of just 24. She was involved in everything from editing to writing to casting. Everything went through her for sign off. 
  • Norma Talmadge was the first woman to have her footprint outside Mann’s Chinese Theatre but this was, according to legend, an accident. Mary Pickford was the first woman to have a hand and foot print ceremony as we know it today. Mary was in fact one of the co-founders of the Theatre itself. 
  • She was one of the co-founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences which presents the Oscars every year. Of the 36 co-founders she was one of only two women. 
  • She also took control of her appearance which was particularly important in the silent era given the stars’ lack of a voice. She cut her famous ringlets in to a bob for a film role, knowing it could damage her career, and was unapologetic about it. 
  • She was a dedicated philanthropist and was active in the war effort. She sold Liberty Bonds and founded the Motion Picture Relief Fund which still exists to this day. 
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United Artists founded - February 5th 1919

Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks & D.W. Griffith

The first of the big four to leave, D.W. Griffith around 1924, Douglas Fairbanks passed in 1939, Charlie Chaplin sold his 20% in 1955 for $1.1 million, followed about a year later - Mary Pickford 20% she got 3 million.

United Artists is now a subsidiary company of MGM.